Citing a need to improve unemployment by ending governmental mismanagement of the economy, South Brunswick resident Eric Beck announced a bid earlier this year to challenge U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-12) for the U.S. Congress in New Jersey’s 12th District.
Beck, a small business owner and entrepreneur from Dayton, started Risk Masters in 2009 as a risk management consulting firm specializing in business continuity management. Beck also holds an MBA from Rutgers University Business School.
He said Rep. Holt is out of touch with voters and lacks the business understanding to stimulate job creation.
"My opponent has spent his entire career in academia and has never been in a position to run a business, create jobs, and deliver a product to a private marketplace," Beck said. "I've spent my entire career in the private sector. I've been in the consulting business for 23 years. I think what I bring to the table is a deeper and better understanding of how to grow the economy and how to create jobs, which lifts all boats in society."
Uncomfortable with the economic policies of the Obama Administration, Beck said Rep. Holt is one of the prime enablers of what he sees as a failing situation.
"Jobs come from small businesses is a common refrain we hear and to some degree that's true," Beck said. "The primary driver of job creation is new business startups, and I base that on the research of the Kauffman Foundation. Historically in this country, there are somewhere between 600,000 to 700,000 new companies started every year that hire five to seven employees on average, and my company is typical of that.
"If you look at the low end of both scales, we need to create about 3 million jobs just to keep the unemployment rate where it is. Part of the reason we're struggling is that we're not creating enough new small businesses, so we need to boost the number of startups and stop burdening them with every type of mandate imaginable."
Beck said encouraging entrepreneurship is the key to driving down unemployment numbers, but added that the country will not climb out of the recession by overtaxing the wealthy with a millionaires’ tax.
"Taxing the rich is a classic socialist mantra, but it's just not the answer to helping the middle class. I'm an advocate of supply side economics," Beck said. "Deficits do matter and I'm a believer in incentives. We need more wealthy people and we need more risk takers. We need to give people an incentive to put their money at risk. If we start overtaxing the rich because we think it benefits the middle class, what we're doing is taking away the resources the wealthy would put at risk for sustainable job growth in the private sector."
When tax rates for the wealthy grow too high, Beck said they are more prone to look for ways to pay less into the system.
"When tax rates are too high, people will find ways to legally hide their income in tax shelters, so you don't get more tax revenue, you get less," he said. "All studies show that, and there is this tremendous denial on the far left who think this is the way to go."
Beck said he supports a repeal of the "Obamacare" health care plan, in addition to a 15 percent flat tax on individuals and corporations.
"We need to broaden the tax base," he noted. "We may even need a small consumption tax. But the idea is to have a comprehensive and fundamental tax reform and move to a flat tax. The overall goal should be revenue neutrality and to grow the economy, grow tax revenue, and help close the deficit by starting to pay off our debts."
By electing more Republicans to state government, Beck said New Jersey could continue the turnaround experienced under Gov. Chris Christie in private sector job creation.
"New Jersey had a zero net job creation prior to (Gov. Christie's) election with only one exception, and that's government jobs," Beck said. "We're starting to see a reversal of that. There's been a three-to-one ratio of government jobs reduced to private sector jobs created. (Christie) is creating an environment in New Jersey that's economically friendly and part of that is trying to constrain the growth of property taxes and that's my top priority. I think I've got more experience and I'm more credible than my opponent to address that."
Beck has already picked up endorsements from the Mercer County Republican Committee as the GOP nominee for the 12th Congressional District, which includes South Brunswick, Cranbury, East Brunswick, East Windsor, Hightstown, Lawrence and Princeton.
"Central New Jersey needs his voice in Washington, and I believe he is uniquely qualified to represent our hardworking families and take on the economic challenges facing our nation," said Mercer County Republican Committee Chair David Fried via release. "As a New Jersey business leader, Eric will present the strongest possible alternative to Rush Holt’s tax-and-spend extremism that is completely out of step with the needs of his district and the country.”
With an atmosphere of partisan politics in Washington D.C., Beck said he is suited to reach across the aisle to form a consensus based on his background. As a community activist, Beck served as the New Jersey State Director for the Concord Coalition, a grassroots organization co-founded by former U.S. Senators Warren Rudman (R-NH) and the late Paul Tsongas (D-MA). The group attempted to educate the public about the "adverse effects of continued deficit spending."
As director, Beck oversaw grassroots organizational development and training programs in partnership with elected representatives and private organizations.
"I tend to be fiscally conservative, but I have a partner who's a strong advocate of Obama," he said. "We try to find common goals around serving our customers who have a problem they want us to solve. We have more in common than we have differences, and I try to focus on that. One of the ways we can create value for taxpayers is by respecting the other side and bringing people together."
Beck said the divisiveness currently affecting the country on a number of issues is ultimately pulling attention away from what should be our chief priority, which is economic growth.
"We need to stop this class warfare we're seeing from the other side," he said. "It's un-American. We should be focused on trying to grow the economy and lifting all boats. It's interesting that the modern day Democratic Party is different from the prominent Democrat I worked with in former Sen. Paul Tsongas, who was a great advocate for the business community."
Beck said that while Tsongas believed in more government spending than what he would be comfortable with, they shared the same outlook towards the business community. That outlook, according to Beck, will be vital to speed up the country's economic recovery.
"Tsongas believed in the business community and that you can't be pro-jobs and anti-business at the same time," Beck added. "Unfortunately modern day Democrats, including the president, don't see that. That's why we need a change in this district and a change in the nation, with both parties who respect the business community and don't see them as the enemy. That's not a point of view that will help the poor, it will just make the poor grow poorer."